When the previous International Fishermen’s Race series took place in 1931, times were already changing — fishing techniques and technology on board fishing vessels was changing rapidly, as was the state of the fishing grounds. The world had also fallen on difficult times due to the Great Depression. All of these factors left the fate of the International Fishermen’s Race series uncertain.
Captain Angus Walters and BLUENOSE still fished when they could — but the majority of the funds keeping the vessel afloat were those she made chartering passengers and touring as a sailing ambassador. In this new role, BLUENOSE represented Canada at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1933, and again at the Silver Jubilee of King George V in England in 1935. In 1937, BLUENOSE was immortalized on the Canadian 10 cent dime.
Also in 1937 came the release of the popular movie adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s novel, Captains Courageous, filled with a glamorous Hollywood cast to tell the story of life at sea on a Grand Banker. It was a huge success — sparking nostalgia and a desire to hold another International Fishermen’s Race.
By 1938, GERTRUDE L. THEBAUD was still afloat, and it was decided that if another International series was to take place, it was now or never — and whichever vessel emerged victorious in a best three of five, would keep the The Cup forever.
The series was set to take place off Nahant Bay near Boston, and Gloucester, on a course which would allow the public to watch from the shore. BLUENOSE arrived an aging vessel, nearly twenty years old, and despite her new paint and sails, it showed.
The first race took place in light winds off Nahant Bay on October 9th — with Bluenose cracking her fore topmast, it was THEBAUD and Ben Pine first across the finish line.
The next official race took place in a decent sailing breeze on October 13th off Gloucester — in conditions which allow BLUENOSE to sail her best. Despite blowing out a sail, she came roaring over the finish line twelve minutes in the lead. One race each.
The third race began on October 19th, but was quickly recalled as the wheel of BLUENOSE fell off in Angus’ hand — with the official race taking place on October 23rd. After taking advice from her designer, William J. Roué, Angus and BLUENOSE made it first across the line by seven minutes.
The fourth race took place off Boston the very next day — after a hard fought battle for both vessels, it was a win for the THEBAUD. Two races each.
The final official race took place off Boston on October 26th. Both vessels had undergone necessary work the previous day, and the old rivals were ready to square off for one final time. Both crews worked carefully and each Skipper calculated every move. Angus was known for talking to BLUENOSE — and while we may never know what conversation they had in that final moment, whatever he said worked. BLUENOSE crossed the line two minutes and fifty seconds in the lead, remaining the undefeated champion in the International Fishermen’s Race series.
Known as the Queen of the North Atlantic, BLUENOSE is still immortalized on the Canadian dime — and her legacy lives on in the hearts of those touched by the sea.